Believer, a moving documentary that premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, follows Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds as he tries to reconcile his deep Mormon faith with the church’s policies against the LGTBQ community.
In this exclusive clip from the Don Argott-directed film, Reynolds talks about how the Mormon church’s lack of tolerance for the gay community has led to an increased rate of suicide among Mormon teens. That belief caused Reynolds, a straight married father, to question his own faith and to look for ways to build a bridge of acceptance.
“I had tons of people who were like, ‘You shouldn’t talk about how we have, like, any issues with suicide. Let’s not talk about that,’” Reynolds says.
Watch the clip below:
Reynolds and Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn, an openly gay former Mormon, navigate their way through the issues, ultimately creating LoveLoud, a music and spoken-word festival designed to start a dialogue between the Mormon church and the LGBTQ community.
“Dan’s idea to help raise awareness for this issue was to put on a concert in Orem, Utah, a very conservative, and very Mormon community,” Argott says in the film’s press notes. “The atmosphere at the LoveLoud Festival was electric. For me, it was overwhelmingly emotional, as I had gotten to know many of the people who shared their stories for the film, and many were extremely heartbreaking. It was pretty incredible that this event provided them a little light from some intensely dark moments.
Reynolds’ explorations don’t come without a cost. He risks fans’ alienation, as well as conflicts with family and friends. “It’s a terrible challenge to go into this intersection of LGBTQ individuals and communities of faith, which requires sensitivity on both sides and a lot of nuance, and that is not an easy spot to be when you’re someone like Dan,” says Reynolds’ brother, Robert, in the clip.
The film, which debuts on HBO this summer, is a production of Live Nation Productions. Producers are Heather Parry, Sheena Joyce and Robert Reynolds. Executive producers are Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, Dan Reynolds, Don Argott, Adam Milano, Willie Mercer and Jeff Ciabattari.
Oscar winner Hans Zimmer wrote the score and contributed to one of the two original songs Reynolds wrote for Believer.